(28 Feb '01)
Thousands of devotees converge to witness the dedication of a new Brahmasthanam temple. As dawn breaks, Amma walks up a ramp to the temple’s peak, where a temporary platform has been erected. She is accompanied by a small group of pujaris and sannyasis who will assist Her during the Kalasha Stapana.
The Stapana begins with Amma turning full circle. Greeting the throngs of devotees below, She is engaging their prayers and hearts in the ritual She is about to perform. Then She sits for some time, still and silent in meditation, while the air reverberates with the sound of drums, temple horns and bells. When She stands, Amma first holds the largest of three brass containers, raises it to Her forehead, and again turns a full circle, as if offering it to all the people.
Then She sets it in place on the central post as the base of the stupika. With both hands She pours living grains into the brass container, until the container is full to overflowing. When the grains begin to rain down onto the platform, Amma places a slim divider and then the next container – smaller in circumference, but a brass bowl similar to the first. This too, She fills with grains—and overfills. One more bowl is filled and the edifice is nearly complete. There is a pointed tip yet to be put in place.
This, too, She touches to Her forehead, and after circumambulating once more, She carefully crowns Her work. Down below, the crowd is chanting, “Om Shiva Shaktiyaikya Rupinyai Namaha,” the bells are ringing continuously, and, rhythmic and exciting, the strains from the temple musicians’ instruments increase. Amma then begins to perform abhishekha. Taking a pot filled with water and other special ingredients, already blessed and energised with the appropriate mantras during pre-ceremony pujas, She lifts it high above Her head, then pours it over the new stupika.
As the water cascades down, glinting in the sun, it splashes over the three levels of the stupika and soaks into the floor of the platform. Amma continues raising one pot after another until She is handed the final and largest one. Despite its size, She also upturns this specially decorated pot and a final torrent of water cascades down.
After gently placing a mala on the stupika , Mother takes a brass lamp of burning camphor in Her right hand and a brass bell in Her left.
With these She performs arati to the new stupika, finishing the ceremonies by anointing the crown of Her new temple. Then, in profound stillness, She meditates. Seen from on high Mother and Her stupika appear to be the centre of a grand mandala with the roof railing forming the first ring, then the orange temple roof, then an open space, the final ring being the thatched roofs erected to shade the devotees from the sun.
In Her position of prominence in the heart of this mandala, Mother, still seated, bows low, and places Her hands and forehead on the base of the stupika . Ever humility embodied, She stays bent for some time, and we who watch can only look on in awe and wonder.